Spartanburg, S.C. – Closing out a year when she helped lead the USC Upstate softball team to unprecedented heights while excelling both in the classroom and on the field, standout pitcher Anna Miller has been named a Capital One First Team Academic All-American as the teams were announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Thursday.
The Capital One Academic All-America program is the premiere academic awards program in college athletics and is administered by CoSIDA. In addition to the first team selections, there were 11 more selections on each the second and third teams.
"It is an honor to receive this award," said Miller. "I have been really fortunate to have had great teachers who have been very cooperative with my busy schedule and who have fostered a terrific learning environment. Balancing school and softball has been a challenge, but it pays off."
"I am thrilled that Anna continues to receive the honors for the amount of hard work and dedication she has put into being a student and athlete," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "It is not easy balancing the time commitments for both. But, Anna has it inside herself to want to be the best at whatever she does and uses that desire to work as hard as she can to reach her goals. She certainly was a big part of our success this year. I am extremely proud of all that Anna has accomplished and happy that she continues to be recognized for what she has accomplished."
While impressive on the field, Miller was even more accomplished in the classroom. She carried a 3.969 GPA and graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration (Marketing). She was named the A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year for softball, a first team academic all-district selection and earned the Coca-Cola Student-Athlete of the Year at Upstate. She was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society and earned the Upstate Excellence in Marketing Award. Previously, she was named an NFCA Scholar Athlete, A-Sun All-Academic and A-Sun Conference Scholar in 2013. She was a two-time CCCAA Scholar Athlete selection as a standout at the College of the Siskiyous in California.
Miller turned in a standout season in the circle for Upstate while continuing to thrive in the classroom. She helped lead Upstate to a 46-9 record, breaking the school's Division I era record for wins. She helped the Spartans to a 22-2 A-Sun record and the regular season conference championship. The Spartans were ranked in the two major national Top 25 polls for seven weeks during the season, including the last six heading into the NCAA Tournament. She also helped lead the team to the top spot in the nation in ERA for two straight weeks at the end of the season. Finally, she helped lead the Spartans to their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament with Upstate earning an at-large selection to the Tuscaloosa Regional.
Individually, Miller finished the season with a 19-5 overall record. She led the Spartans with 19 wins, a 1.41 ERA, 241 strikeouts, .168 opponent batting average and 149.0 innings pitched. She battled for the national lead in strikeouts per game, entering the NCAA Tournament in a dead heat for the national lead. She tossed four no-hitters in 2014 alone, increasing her total to a Spartan record-tying six in her two year career after transferring to Upstate from Siskiyous. She was named the NFCA National Player of the Week after tossing back-to-back no-hitters against Gardner-Webb and Liberty.
Miller earned A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and first team all-conference honors after turning in a 10-1 record in A-Sun play during the season. Two of her no-hitters came against A-Sun foes Northern Kentucky and ETSU. She finished the season leading the conference in strikeouts and opponent batting average while ranking second in ERA and third in wins. Against A-Sun-only competition, she finished the season leading the conference in ERA, strikeouts and opponent batting average while ranking second in wins. She was selected by the Pennsylvania Rebellion in the fourth round of the National Pro Fastpitch league, becoming just the second Spartan to be drafted into women's professional softball. She signed her two-year contract earlier this week and is in Pennsylvania working out with the team.
Miller is one of two pitchers and 11 total selections on the Capital One Academic All-American First Team. She is joined on the first team by Tennessee pitcher Ellen Renfroe, Alabama Catcher Molly Fichtner, Tulsa infielder Jill Barrett, Illinois-Chicago infielder Jackie Fletcher, Alabama infielder Kaila Hunt, Tennessee infielder Madison Shipman, Alabama outfielder Haylie McCleney, Purdue outfielder Andie Varsho, Arizona State outfielder Bailey Wigness and Idaho State designated player Terah Blackwell.
Miller becomes the ninth Spartan all-time to earn Academic All-America honors and the fifth since Upstate joined the Division I ranks in 2007-08. She is also just the second first team selection in the history of the athletic department and joins women's tennis player Diana Martinez, who was a first team honoree in 2008. The other Upstate selections were Darren Ambrose (2nd team in 1993, men's soccer), Marlon Burgess (3rd team in 1994, men's soccer), Sean Hartley (3rd team in 1996, men's soccer), Diana Martinez (2nd team in 2007, women's tennis), Nick Schneiders (2nd team in 2010, men's basketball), Josh Gallman (3rd team in 2010, men's golf) and Timo Foerster (3rd team in 2011, men's soccer). Miller is the first Upstate softball player to be selected as an Academic All-American.